Massachusetts is home to two Native American tribes that qualify as federally recognized entities:
- Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe
- Wampanoag Tribe of Gay Head (Aquinnah)
So far, only the Mashpees have moved to secure a compact with the folks in Boston. Although the tribe only received federal recognition in 2007, it has moved quickly to declare some 300 acres near Taunton as its reservation lands. This declaration has come under considerable fire from the government, including a 2020 effort by the Bureau of Indian Affairs to remove the reservation designation from the lands. However, now that those challenges appear to be over, the Mashpees are moving forward with their plans for the First Light Casino & Resort, a full-scale casino that will serve as the Region C property under the Expanded Gaming Act.
The Wampanoag Tribe of Gay Head (Aquinnah), meanwhile, has not been as dogged in its pursuit of an agreement with the state. Instead, it has moved to create a bingo facility on tribal lands. Of course, the government sued this tribe, too — this time, it was the city government of Aquinnah — claiming that a 1983 land agreement nullified the tribe’s ability to offer gambling. After some arguing in court, the tribe prevailed in 2018 and began moving forward with its plans. However, the town remained undeterred and has kept the project tied up in court ever since with any issues that it could find. It now appears that the tribe will be able to build the venue, albeit with some approvals from the powers that be.